Inshore- This past week has been a great week inshore with sheepshead, pompano, speckled trout, whiting, bonnet head sharks, snook, tarpon starting to show up and MORE! However, the fishing action has been a little hit and miss due to the weather. We had a low pressure last weekend and the bite was great just before it and 24-36 hours after it passed. Then we had a high pressure and the fishing Tuesday was a little slow due to that, but then the fishing recovered and got better and better. We have another little low pressure trough, but that shouldn’t have such a dramatic effect since it’s weaker and not actually sitting in the gulf. This weekend and into this coming week however looks GREAT. With a new moon coming late this weekend we have good tidal flows and lots of strong solunar action midafternoon and in the wee hours of the morning this weekend around the area. The solunar action means great fishing action and typically a good bite of fish. Plus, the new moon typically helps improve the day time bite and at night consolidates the fish around the dock lights, bridge lights and anywhere the bait fish congregate since there’s no moon light lighting up the bay. The white bait like greenbacks and glass minnows are thick around Johns Pass and many other local passes which has the fish moving through the passes and along the beaches. John Sasser, from Largo, caught a monster snook on the incoming tide from the North jetty of Johns pass just before first light using a Glad snooker jig which is a flair hawk style lure with an added rattle on the hook. John reports that nearly all his fishing action this past week has been on the incoming tide and that nearly every time the snook are ambushing the lure closer to the rocky jetty just around the drop off only 8-12 feet out from the jetty. Besides the occasional snook lots of Pompano have been caught around the passes and beaches too. Butch Knieriem caught two nice sized pompano this past Wednesday morning using a ½ ounce pink Nekid ball jig on the beginning of the incoming tide just after sunrise bouncing that lure along the sandy bottom troughs that run parallel to the beaches. Doug Bryan has been catching some nice sheepshead under the south side of Johns Pass Bridge fishing the rocky shoreline around the slack tide with pieces of shrimp and fiddler crabs for bait with a 1-2ot hook depend on the size of the bait and 15-20lb floro carbon leader and minimal weight sizes, just enough to get the bait into the strike zone next to the structure or along the rocky bottom. Jess and Luke from the Big Gamerz fishing team came all the way from Canada to fish Madeira beach this past week and they spent each night fishing around the pass and from the beach. After four nights their patience paid off and they ended up landing a nearly seventy inch long big tarpon on a ladyfish for bait that was weighted to bottom. Tarpon will become more and more prolific in the area as may progress and they will be around through the end of August typically depending on the weather. Using live shrimp around most any pass right now from pass a grill to Clearwater with a light weight and 15-20lb leader you can see plenty of bonnet head sharks, speckled trout and whiting along the beaches adjacent to the passes or in the pass from the jetties. Plus, you have a chance for the pompano too. However, the pompano seem to be more spotty and specific and move areas following the tides.
Near shore- The near shore bite this week followed a similar trend as the inshore bite due to weather and like inshore, this weekend and into early the coming week is looking spectacular for fishing weather and should be more like catching! The mackerel and kingfish bite has slowed a bit compared to what it was a few weeks ago before that big front that stirred up the water, spread a lot of sargassum, and brought us plenty of rain. However, we are seeing good action once again with mackerel showing back up biting the 4-6 inch squid spoons on the number one or number two planners. Triple tail are very active around the near shore waters hiding around the sargassum weed aggregations or the crab and pinfish trap buoys that run along our beaches from one to five miles from shore. Triple tail love a DOA shrimp lure or a live shrimp pitched to them with a 2-3ot hook and 20lb test leader. I like to use a popping cork for less experienced anglers and put the lure or live bait around 8-12 inches below the cork that way it gives extra weight to the rig to allow for easier cast placements and you can over cast by 6-10 feet and slow retrieve the rig to the strike zone only 1-3ft from the flotsam that the triple tail is tucked under. Once you get the bait in the strike zone they come shooting out and nail it and the fight is on, your job is to get it away from the entanglement and to the boat quickly as they are great eating and super unique looking too. The red grouper bite is improving near shore too since their spawning time has come to a close they seem to be moving back into the near shore waters and becoming more cooperative. However, they are in the deepest near shore waters in 80-100 foot of water and they are bigger, more aggressive and more prolific in the offshore waters still but it’s great to see the bite picking up already in the deeper near shore waters. As the summer heat draws in, the red grouper seem to get better and better in the near shore waters and seem to be more and more prolific typically. However, the past two years it’s only been average action over the summer for red grouper near shore. The lane snapper are very active in around seventy to ninety foot of water and they have been pretty good size too! For lane snapper, I like a four ot hook and a 30-40lbg leader with a live shrimp or small piece of squid for bait. The hogfish bite has slacked up a bit the last couple weeks but early this week around Monday/Tuesday it randomly picked up extremely well for us aboard the HUB half day private fishing charters with big hogs coming up plentifully on live shrimp in around 40-70 foot of water. They love 30lb test, 4ot hooks, and live shrimp, fiddler crabs, or sand fleas for bait. Also, rock shrimp is one of the more highly sought after prized hogfish baits but I haven’t had much success with those myself. They do however help keep the bycatch numbers down. When targeting hogs, since they are the least aggressive most leader shy fish around the structure they are typically the last fish you catch once all the other more aggressive fish either get full or stop feeding or get caught. When using live shrimp for hogfish you often get tons of the grey snapper (white grunts), porgies, lanes, short grouper and seabass before you finally start to hook up with the hogs. While using the more unique bait like fiddlers, sand fleas and especially rock shrimp you don’t really get as many bites unless it’s a hogfish.
Offshore – The offshore fishing has been great this weekend when weather allowed us to get out there to them. The high pressure that settled in Tuesday and got strong Wednesday and Thursday thwarted our offshore adventures mid-week but this past weekend and Monday we were able to catch plenty of fish and this upcoming weekend into early this coming week looks perfect for some great fishing opportunities. However, with the new moon that sometimes makes the current an issue when fishing out deeper around 150ft or more. The new moon does seem to make the day time fishing offshore much hotter as the fish don’t have a chance to feed as well at night without any moon light around. That means they typically feed harder and there’s more action during the day light hours that allow those fish past 120-150ft enough light at the bottom to hunt their prey effectively. Fish that feed predominantly at night do seem to cooperate better during the day on these new moon periods. This past weekend we did very well on the big red grouper, occasional nice scamp grouper and big trigger fish around 170-200 foot of water. The red grouper love double thread fins, long strips of squid, live pinfish or cut bonita strips. When targeting red grouper I like to use 60-80lb test line and around a 7-9ot hook depending on the size of bait I am using with a 6ot reel or a two speed 50 with 35-40lbs of drag or more like my Daiwa Saltiga LD 50 2spd. Triggerfish seem to love the 1-2inch thin strips of squid the best with a 5-6ot hook and 40-60lb test line. Scamp love to eat the smaller 4-5inch pinfish or a strip of squid or a vertical jig bounced right along the bottom closer to 200 foot of water. I use the similar tackle to the red grouper when targeting the scamp but stick more towards the 60lb test and 7ot hook. Around the 200 foot mark is where we are also finding behemoth vermillion snapper or beeliners as they are more commonly called in our area. Those fish love a 6ot hook and small pieces of squid or even the shrimp if you can get them down to the bottom without being picked off your hook. Plus, most of the time we are running into these big vermillion up in the water column once we fish a spot awhile they seem to get chummed up to the surface so much so you will feel them hitting your threadfins or squid on the way to the bottom through the cloud of vermillion. When they get all chummed up and excited a light knocker rig style set up with live shrimp is a great way to have tons of fun nailing record sized vermillion. Red grouper are also being found around the 110-140 foot areas too in the shallower closer to shore offshore waters following the same tackle suggestions and hitting the same baits as the deeper water red groupers. The mangrove snapper action has been pretty decent lately, and the largest ones are being caught mixed in with the red grouper on the flat hard bottom around the bait shows in the 170-200 foot of water but getting your threadfin to them through the prolific and aggressive red snapper and vermillion has been quite the challenge as of late. The trolling has been a little slow for us this past week, but we are seeing monster kingfish around the 140-160 foot of water areas. Plus, blackfin tuna seem fairly cooperative from the shallowest offshore waters all the way past 200 foot of water but they are few and far between. However, once you find one blackfin there’s been more of them around too! Wahoo should be showing up in the area soon as the water continues to warm up as well.
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Upcoming up at Hubbard’s Marina
Fox 13’s Good Day Tampa Bay show has picked up a fishing segment with Capt Dylan Hubbard Scheduled for every Friday morning starting TODAY May 3rd for hopefully the rest of time! These segments will have tons of fishing tips, tricks, updates and more. Please tune into Fox 13 on Friday mornings to watch the show and if you are not local, you can watch it LIVE on their website -> http://www.fox13news.com/live
LIGHT 39 HOUR TRIPS COMING UP on Friday May 24th plus we have two super light Tuesday 39 hours on May 14th and 21st if you want to join us for some red grouper, scamp grouper, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, porgies, vermillion, tuna, kingfish and much more! The fishing on these long range 39 hour trips have been very good and this coming week the load is light so it’s a great opportunity to join us for plenty of room on board and great fishing! FOR MORE INFO, or to book your 39 hour NOW click this link: https://hubbardsmarina.com/39hr-overnight-fishing-trip/
All our trips seem SUPER LIGHT right now around Hubbard’s Marina due to that little ‘lul’ time of year where the weather isn’t too hot yet and the crowds have relaxed a bit. It makes for a GREAT time to join us for a 5, 10, 12 or 39 hour trip before the chaos and sold out trips of the June and July months begin. We have lots of light loads on our 12 hour extreme trips, 39 hour long range overnight trips and 10 hour all day party boat trips plus lots of private fishing charter spaces opened up for bookings!
2019 RED SNAPPER TRIPS FILLING FAST Book your 2019 RED SNAPPER 12 hr extreme, 39 or 44 hour trip TODAY while there’s still some open spots! These trips will fill quickly so book NOW. Last year red snapper trips were filled up early and we had to turn lots of last minute bookings away, so don’t miss your chance at securing your favorite trip TODAY. Here’s the link for all your 2019 specialty trips – https://hubbardsmarina.com/specialty-fishing-trip/
This coming Sunday May 4th is next LIVE SHOW join us if you want to learn more about fishing locally and WIN FREE FISHING TRIPS without leaving your house! Don’t forget we have the Weekly fishing conversation or seminar by Capt Dylan Hubbard LIVE on the Hubbard’s Marina Facebook & YouTube page if you don’t want to leave your house to catch a seminar! This is weekly on Sunday nights from 8:30pm until 9:30pm, check out the event page and PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE the event if you have a Facebook page, and invite your friends as well! Here’s the page to find the Facebook event link, and view all the past LIVE Q&A fishing shows – https://hubbardsmarina.com/past-qanda-live-streams/
We have another great Bass Pro Shops seminar coming up Saturday May 18th at 2pm if you want to join Capt Dylan for a chance to win FREE FISHING TRIPS! The fishing seminar or fishing conversation will be about an hour long of fishing conversation, tips, tricks and more! Plus, at the end of each seminar Capt Dylan gives away a FREE 10 hour all day for two guests and a FREE 5 hour half day for two guests to two lucky winners of the FREE raffle. To be entered in the raffle you just have to show up just before 2 pm and stay for the hour seminar. Here’s the link to learn more and help us spread the word by clicking this link and click ‘going’ -> https://www.facebook.com/events/355624161963149/
Our 12 hour night snapper trips started up, and the next one is May 10th. If you want a chance to join us for some night time snapper fishing action for mangrove snapper, vermillion snapper, lane snapper, porgies and more! These are great trips with plenty of night fishing time 25-35 miles from Johns Pass for around 7-8 hours fishing time and only for $129 but book now because these trips do fill fast especially around the full moon. We only offer them on the quarter and full moon phases Friday nights from 7p to 7a Saturday! Here’s all the information on these special night time snapper fishing trips – https://hubbardsmarina.com/12hr-night-fishing-trip/
Captain Jack’s dolphin corner
It’s the beginning of bird nesting season at dog leg key our local sea bird rookery. We cruise by this island on every dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour and also during some of our sunset cruises too. We are seeing baby pelicans and baby egrets at the island currently, plus we are seeing nesting pairs of Roseate spoonbills and the great news is the fact that we are seeing more and more of these unique pink birds every year the past 4-5 years.
Last year’s newborn dolphins are now juveniles and we are seeing them play together often in the back bays and getting very active at the surface while even showing off some of their acrobatic displays.
The dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour has been spotting lots of manatees as of late recently too. It’s a little early in the year for manatees, but the clear waters help us to spot them easily and they have been in big groups which make it easier to find them too. This past week during one cruise we spotted a group of nine manatees cruising the back bay waters. However, these guys can hold their breathe nearly 10 minutes and they only come out of the water with their snouts and sometimes their tails too so it makes is very difficult to spot them and when you do its difficult to follow them around. This makes it a very unique treat to spot them during our cruises and this time of year is a great time for them as they return to the area from their winter vacation. Here’s all the information on our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour – https://hubbardsmarina.com/dolphin-watching-cruises/
Our local resident dolphins are back in the area and with the beautiful spring conditions we are seeing huge pods of dolphins grouped up together feeding and playing and teaching their young juvenile dolphins more about hunting and using their sonar by playing ‘catch’ with the plentiful jacks and sheepshead.
On top of all this great news and unique sights we are also spotting a few sea turtles cruising the back bays. It’s a little early for sea turtle nesting season but they are definitely starting to show back up in the area.
The sunset cruise right now is a great time due to the GORGEOUS spring sunsets we have been having as of late, this past week we even saw the elusive ‘green flash’ at the end of the sunset! Great time of year to join us for a sunset cruise that offers FREE BEER AND WINE, learn more here -> https://hubbardsmarina.com/sunset-cruise/
Hubbard’s Marina Sea Adventures and Tampa Bay ferry are both proudly power by Honda Marine! If you come visit us for a dolphin tour, sunset cruise, Egmont key island trip, snorkeling, shelling, water taxi ride or any type of ferry or pleasure cruise trip then you will be riding a boat powered by Honda Marine! These new motors look great, are super quiet and are great on fuel economy! It was tough to get four boats re-powered with new engines but it was well worth the change and were very happy! Hope you get a chance to see these brand new super cool engines at work on board one of our pleasure cruise and ferry boats! To learn more about Honda Marine engines for your boat, check out their website: https://marine.honda.com/ they have the best warranty in the industry right now, you get a full 5 years and you just can’t beat that!
Tampa bay ferry News
The shelling and sharks teeth hunting around shell key and Egmont key has been out of this world as of late! The March weather has really blown up some great shells and the occasional shark’s tooth. Plus, when the weather is nice it’s a great time to spend the day having some fun in the sun on the islands!
Snorkeling has started once again during the ferry to Egmont key, you have the option to do the snorkeling trip once on the island with us during the Ferry to Egmont key from fort De Soto with us at Hubbard’s Marina! Check out all the info here -> https://hubbardsmarina.com/egmont-key-ferry-cruise/
Water temps are perfect right in in the mid 70’s to cool you down from the hot sun but not too chilly to snorkel or swim and enjoy the water too!
PLUS, the water clarity right now is INSANE around shell key and Egmont key! Join us for a ferry ride to paradise today to enjoy the crystal clear waters between the storms fronts, when a front blows by the waters get a little murky for a day or two then it clears up to gorgeous once again shortly after the waters calm down.
Great time to visit us for a ferry ride to Egmont key or shell key since the temps are too hot and the temps aren’t too cold to explore the island! Plus, the bugs aren’t too bad yet in the warmer summer months.
Since its still a little chilly at night, it’s also a great time of year to spot the plentiful gopher tortoise at Egmont key when they are out sunning themselves in the morning sun trying to warm up from the chilly overnight temps!
We even saw some manta rays this past week around the Shell key and Egmont key islands along with dolphins, manatees, seabirds and the occasional sea turtle! Come join us for a day at the island, more info on both ferry ride options below.
The Egmont key ferry from Fort de soto offers 10am and 11am ferry rides to the island daily this time of year, plus on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we offer a 2pm ferry ride from Fort De soto out to Egmont key island! You get three hours on the island after around a 20-30 minute ride out and back to the island. Plus, we often see dolphins, seabirds and sometimes even sea turtles on the ride out and back thus the ride time can fluctuate a bit depending on what we spot during the cruise out to your island oasis! For more info on the Egmont key ferry, visit this page of the Hubbard’s Marina website – https://hubbardsmarina.com/egmont-key-ferry-cruise/
Our Shell key ferry trips are a great way to spend the day and offer more flexible schedules compared to the rigid Egmont key schedule! We offer these trips DAILY from the boat ramp at Fort De Soto County Park and they run at 10am, noon and 2pm and the final return time is 4pm! You have much more flexibility during the shell key trips compared to our Egmont key ferry because you get to choose the time you return to fort de Soto from Shell key! If you’re looking for plenty of time on the island and great shelling opportunities then the shell key ferry trip is your best bet! Check out all the information on this special ferry ride at this link – https://hubbardsmarina.com/shell-key-ferry/
We have finished 2019 regular’s club renewals and we are starting on signing up NEW MEMBERS, if you are interested in becoming a 2019 regular’s club loyalty program member please reach out to Capt. Dylan Hubbard by sending him your name and cell number via email to [email protected]. He will be in touch in the coming few weeks about the loyalty program that offers discounted trips if you fish more than 10,15 or 20 times a year with us at Hubbard’s Marina. It also comes with some free gifts and other benefits too besides discounted trips, but it’s NOT simply a discount program. It’s a loyalty program and it requires fishing often and being a model Hubbard’s Marina guest and showing the passion shared by all of us at Hubbard’s Marina for fishing and our fellow anglers.
PAST AND PRESENT MEMBERS: be sure to renew your membership before 2018 ends!
Captain Dylan Hubbard
Vice president and Co-Owner
(727)393-1947 ext. 306
UPDATED Coupon information
30% off spro jigs, DOA shrimp and Mirror lures in the Hubbard’s Marina Tackle shop
Expires – 5/10/19
Must have coupon to present at check out
While supplies last
Preferred partner spotlight
Try one of our new menu items at the Friendly Fisherman!
Fried Oyster appetizer $11.79
Fresh Oyster fried crisp and served with a spicy Cocktail sauce.
In Shore Platter $18.49
Flounder fillet, hand breaded clam strips and crispy bay shrimp.
Served with fresh made cole slaw, corn fritter and fries. (fried only)